Afternoon Voice

Two senior Income Tax officers get 5-yr jail in bribery case

A special CBI court convicted an additional commissioner of Income Tax and an assistant I-T commissioner in a Rs 1.7 crore graft case of 2010 and sentenced them to five years’ imprisonment.

The additional commissioner’s husband was also convicted and awarded four years in jail.

Special CBI judge Vivek Khathare yesterday sentenced additional commissioner Sumitra Banerjee, 49, a 1992 batch Indian Revenue Service officer, and assistant commissioner Anjali Bambole, 50, to five years’ imprisonment for allegedly demanding Rs 1.7 crore bribe from a Thane-based builder.

Banerjee’s husband Subroto, who was nabbed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while accepting Rs 1.50 crore from the builder, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment.

The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 80 lakh on Banerjee, Rs 30 lakh on her husband and Rs 40 lakh on Bambole.

According to the CBI’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the officers had sought the money from the builder for not converting a survey action into a search operation, which gives the I-T department powers to seize unaccounted assets.

The builder had approached the CBI’s ACB on April 12, 2010 claiming that the two officers, who were posted at the Thane Income Tax office, were demanding bribe to reduce tax liabilities of his firm Ram Developers.

On March 24, 2010 a survey was conducted at the firm under Banerjee’s supervision.

Later, the two officers demanded Rs 2 crore from the builder claiming that the firm’s tax liability would be Rs 25 crore.

According to the complaint, the officers reduced the bribe amount to Rs 1.70 crore and threatened to convert the survey action into a search if he did not pay the money.

The builder then approached the CBI and lodged a complaint following which a trap was laid to nab the accused.

All the three accused were subsequently arrested. They were currently out on bail.

The prosecution examined 14 witnesses to prove its case.